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i am a creative person. mother to a daughter who is an active young woman and a constant blessing in my life. i hope that you enjoy your visit here and that you will return often.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

this week's optional prompt for Photo Art Friday is to use Bonnie's free Cobblestone Road texture. 

Cobblestone Road Texture from Bonnie at Photo Art Friday

i once again went searching through my archived photos and found a photo of a raven's scull which i happily married to the generously offered texture. i added a favorite quote of mine and ta-da ~!!~ i now have a halloween image.

i've enjoyed adding this weekly challenge of  Bonnie's from Pixel Dust Photo Art to my life and to my blog. it gets me out with camera in hand more often as well as into the PSE7 program to practice a bit. if you have similar interests please come and play along.

this weeks stitch for the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle was buttonhole wheel cups. this stitch starts out as a buttonhole wheel and then morphs into a cup shape when a detached buttonhole is worked into the outer part of the wheel.
i chose to vary my stitch slightly by not bringing the center "wheel" part of the stitch all the way in. this allowed a bigger hole in the center which i decided to interpret as the pupil of an eye.

with this stitch the more one stitches around the outer part of the wheel the deeper the cupping result will be. i only did one tour around the outside of the wheel with the detached buttonhole because i wanted to create an outline effect rather than have a cupping result.  i used a red pearl cotton (size 12) for the stitching of the wheel and the "cupped" outer (or detached buttonhole) part of the stitch.
i then used a black pearl cotton (size 8) for the satin stitched center/pupil.
i was able to do all of this on a piece of cotton fabric printed in such a way that i could emphasize the shape and look of an eye. the fabric was not printed with an eye but i managed to 'coerce' the print into helping me out with the total effect.

this was recently stitched into the wonderful daughter's october/halloween postcard which she has now received so i'm happy to be showing you the whole thing.

i did manage to get all seven days accomplished with the 15 minute challenge hosted by Kate at Life In Pieces. besides the TAST stitch work and working on the postcards that i have included in this post i also worked on my contemporary/modern piece (only needs a label now) and i even managed to do a little bit of hand sewing on my hexie piece.

i won't be able to post a photo of the finished contemporary piece until it has been mailed and received by the special friend that i made it for but i hope to include it in one of my future posts soon. i can however show the other postcard that i worked on and sent out recently as a birthday card.

i used a piece of salvaged, vintage pillowcase that had been embroidered.
i reworked and added to the embroidery in some areas but the rose, it's leaves and the outer parts of the blue flowers are original. the upper edge is a piece of my hand dyed fabric with a lace overlay. the lace has some embroidery (in white) worked in to anchor it as well as to enhance the card. there is a bit of heavy variegated thread (made from recycled sari silk) that has been worked into the lace along the edge that meets the embroidery.
the edges of the postcard have been bound with another piece of my own hand dyed fabric.

recent gifts include:
  • discovering that jelly belly now makes dark chocolate covered jelly beans (cherry, orange and coconut) ~pretty tasty~ 
  • the discovery of a perfectly heart shaped tomato ~ maybe i'll post a photo of that beautiful surprise next time . . .
  • the return home of a certain "prodigal" calico cat . . . where in the world WAS she for three whole days~!?!~
my prayers go out to all of those in the east and midwest who are experiencing such horrible weather extremes. may you all be safe, warm and at peace during this difficult time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TAST/week 42 - a dolly quiltalong flimsy - The 15 Minute Challenge - Photo Art Friday

this week's optional prompt at Photo Art Friday is "derelict". 
i went back into my archived photos and found this shot of a rusty old rake laying on the ground. i have added an additional layer which helped to amplify the shadows, which i thought was appropriate to the impression that i wished to create, but is otherwise invisible.



1. left or deserted, as by the owner or guardian; abandoned.

2. neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent.


3. a person abandoned by society, especially a person without a permanent home and means of support; vagrant.

4. Nautical . a vessel abandoned in open water by its crew without any hope or intention of returning.

personal property abandoned or thrown away by the owner.

there are some amazingly talented and creative people participating in Bonnie's weekly challenge at Pixel Dust Photo Art . Bonnie is very supportive and encouraging as are the other participants. consider joining in if you have photo art interests of your own.

this week for the 15 minute challenge i had a perfect week with work happening on all seven days. i quilted on my contemporary/modern piece, practiced the TAST stitch, did some postcard stitching, and best of all, assembled the blocks (from Lori's dolly quilt quiltalong) into a flimsy.
 i sort of snuck this project in between some other things i had planned simply because i couldn't resist it. i'm really glad that i did because it turned out so cute. i still haven't decided on what i will do for borders but i'm considering allowing the (red) binding serve as a finish point. it will be a while before i get to quilting it.
Lori of Humble Quilts always does a terrific job with these doll quilt quiltalongs and this one was no different. this time she used an antique/vintage quilt that she found and loved for inspiration. it is a simple but striking version of a log cabin.
i believe that Lori will be hosting a link party for this newest autumn quiltalong at some point this week and i can hardly wait to see what everyone else did with this fun pattern.

last weeks stitch for the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle was a variation of the fly stitch. i decided to practice it on a seam within a postcard that i am working on. it will be a surprise for someone special so i won't show you the whole thing just yet.

week 42 ~ italian knotted border stitch: i used two strands of a cotton floss in variegated oranges. i separated the strands and then recombined them in such a way that each strand shifted colors in different places. this gave me added color variation within the stitch and is something that i do frequently.

i worked the stitch once going in one direction (shown on the right side of the above photo) and then turned the work and worked the stitch again with the stitches going into the other direction (shown on the left side of the above photo). i think the finished effect is sort of zipper like.
recent gifts include:
  • having a few moderate days to get some fall cleanup done in the yard/garden
  • the fragrance of sagebrush as it gets rained on
  • a long phone conversation with a distant friend

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Take A Stitch Tuesday/week 41 ~ the 15 minute challenge report ~ Photo Art Friday

this week's optional prompt at Photo Art Friday is to use Bonnies "Leafy Landscape" within our own images. i decided to turn it into "Things That Go Bump In The Night"

if you enjoy photography and/or creating using a photo art program please think about joining in with many others on Bonnie's blog Pixel Dust Photo Art . Bonnie has beautiful layers that she often offers up as freebies, is very informative and is always very encouraging.

this weeks stitch for the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle was a fairly simple one. i had a little bit of halloween fun with it~!
week 41 ~ knotted loop stitch: after practicing/playing with this stitch i thought i might be able to make a wee skeleton . . . i used a variegated brown Anchor pearl cotton thread (size 8) to create the spine and ribs.  i do realize that he/she (?!) is headless and has no bony fingers (!!) . . . i'm hoping to remedy this soon but for now i'm still rummaging through stuff (including my imagination) to find just the right bits.

i will also stitch in a background. what color(s) do you think i should use for the background? and do you have any fabulous ideas for a skull and bony fingers?

this week for the 15 minute challenge i almost had a perfect week. i missed tuesday due to a long day of travel and appointments. i took stitching with me and usually i can use at least some of the travel time for handwork but i was just too tired and slept instead.
on the other six days i did a lot of quilting on my contemporary/modern piece, practiced the TAST stitch, assembled some small basket blocks, worked on postcards, and had a good time putting together the blocks for a doll sized autumn quiltalong that i've joined over at Humble Quilts. Lori always uses an antique/vintage quilt that she has been inspired by for her doll quiltalong ideas. this one is a simple version of a log cabin block and i love the graphic appeal of it~! 

so here is my stack of teensy four patches.

and here is my stack of larger, but still pretty small (5") blocks.  i will be setting these just as Lori did for her example quilt which was also how the original quilt was set. i'm not sure about borders just yet . . . next week sometime there will be a link party for these small gems and i hope to have mine at the flimsy stage by then.

recent gifts include:
  • the smell of freshly grated ginger
  • seeing a butterfly using the hummingbird feeder. i should have already taken it down but when i seen that it was still getting some use i was happy that i hadn't.
  • a large granddog curling up in my lap for snuggles. who says laps are only for little dogs~!?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TAST week 39 & 40 ~ the 15 minute challenge ~ Photo Art Friday

the prompt for Photo Art Friday is "liquid" this week. i took some shots early in the morning when the dew was still quite frosty and loved how the lowest 'branch' on the left side cradled perfectly that bit of melting frost. i also thought that if ever the sunshine could be classified as liquid this would be a good example of that.
join in on Bonnie's blog Pixel Dust Photo Art if you would like to involve yourself in some photo art fun. i'm really glad that i started to play along as it brings my photography into more active creative play. there are some very talented people joining in and i LOVE seeing what their working on too.
this is another shot that i thought demonstrated "liquid" very nicely. it's straight out of camera other than a square crop.

i have been busy helping to build a fence around our yard for the past couple of weeks and this weekend while working hard at getting more boards sealed i completely forgot to do my 15 minute challenge for two days (!!). on the third day i woke up with a start realizing what had happened. it's been such an important routine within my day since the beginning of the year that i really didn't think i could forget. apparently too busy + too tired = whooops.
if you are interested in joining others who are committed to making 15 minutes of sewing a daily part of their lives consider joining in with Kate at Life in Pieces and link up with us every tuesday.

i did manage to get my newest TAST stitch done despite my two day lapse and both it and the previous weeks photographed to show you within this post.
the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle is all about practicing and learning new embroidery stitches. i am making my family new christmas stockings and most of the stitches from this challenge have been placed onto those. they're coming along really well. 

week 39 ~ knotted buttonhole stitch: i worked this stitch with a dark blue medium weight thread onto the toe of my wonderful husband's stocking alongside a previously worked cable chain (week 25) stitch. i chose to position the 'prongs' of the stitch in slightly opposing directions which gave it an inverted v formation.

week 40 ~ beaded hedebo edge: i worked this stitch on my own stocking and instead of a bead i used small buttons. i used a white pearl cotton (size 8). i've never worked or even heard of this stitch before and i  was hoping that it would look a bit whimsical within my stocking and am pleased with the results.

one of the other things i've been working  on during my 15 minute challenge time over the past few weeks is a small quilted piece. i had hoped to have it finished and already gifted by now but the quilting has taken on a life of it's own and progress is a bit slower than planned . . .
the fabrics within this piece are all (except the white piece you see above) fabrics that i have hand dyed myself.
it's a contemporary styled piece which isn't what i usually choose to do but i have enjoyed it a lot.
 i will be able to show you a shot of the completed piece very soon (i hope).
i have other projects that i rotate around during this daily 15 minutes (minimum) of sewing time and will be showing them as there is compelling progress to report.

~!~i'm a winner~!~
little woolen pillow
by Big Lake Quilter

recent gifts include:
  • a surprise hot air balloon in the morning sky
  • winning that cute woolen pillow made by Cathy
  • enjoying the unusually fabulous fall temps during our new fence construction project

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TAST week 35 through 38 ~ the 15 Minute Challenge ~ Photo Art Friday

the top image was created using only my own photos and layers.

the bottom one uses my first created image plus a freebie layer (Heartache by the Numbers).  Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art generously shared it.
i do like the complexity that it added to what i had already done. thank you Bonnie~!

both have been created in response to Photo Art Friday's challenge: (figure(s). you will find a button for this weekly event on my sidebar.

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once again i am presenting my photos/practice stitches from the TAST challenge hosted by sharon b at pintangle  as a group. rather than one week at a time. 
i have enjoyed the practice as well as learning some new stitches this year. time flies and we're already over the half way mark.

week 35 ~ sheaf stitch:

i added the sheaf stitch to the top of an already placed fly stitch. 

the photo to the right is the fly stitch (week 1 (in january) as it looked then.

anchor pearl cotton (sz 12) in red was again used as i experimented with the sheaf stitch. i elongated the center line (within my bundle of three). i like the way that it  turned out looking somewhat like a star. i also like the way that the two stitches merge together so well.

week 36 ~ catch up week/mini challenge for those who wished to participate: "Take 3 – 6 of the stitches we have have done so far and create an interesting visual piece . . ."

i had previously worked this bit of tangled feather stitching onto the wonderful daughter's stocking (week 3 (in january) and i decided to use it as baseline for this mini challenge.

this is the original stitching: a line of feather stitching in white and one in red ~ twisted together.

i added detached chain stitches and elongated the catch stitch so that it looked as if something was blossoming from the feather stitching.
i used a light weight (hand dyed) variegated thread.

the third stitch within this seam treatment was a very small french knot. i used a quilting thread in a maroon color and placed the knot at the tip of the rounded part of each of the detached chain stitches.

these additions didn't add a dramatic difference but i thought it did give this seam a bit more interest.

these are small stitches and you may want to click on the photos to see them better.

week 37 ~ pistil stitch:
this is an interesting stitch. i was aware of it but had never worked it before and it is a bit awkward at first but not really difficult.

i adore the whimsy it provided within this postcard seam that i worked it into.
i used a variety of strandable green threads that were in the bottom of my thread tin. a good way to use them up and sometimes i used different colors within the same needle. sometimes i used one strand but more often i used two.

week 38 ~ drizzle stitch: i didn't stretch the drizzle stitch out there as far as i should have and in my example it really doesn't look much different than a french knot.
now if i'd made a weeping willow type of tree . . . that would have been a much better example of this stitch. maybe next time.
it did add a nice dimensional quality to this stamped topiary.
i used a lightweight hand dyed variegated thread and stitched onto an in process fabric postcard.

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i continue to meet my daily goals with Kate for the fifteen minute challenge.
the christmas stockings/TAST are just one of the projects that i work on.
currrently i'm also quilting a birthday table runner and stitching madly away on a couple of different post cards.

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recent gifts include:
  • watching the bright leaves begin their swirling dances as they fall from the trees
  • a moonlight barbecue for two
  • the distinctive shapes of stems and flower/seed heads bringing a whole new season of beauty
  • a warm sun in a cloudless blue sky